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Student Composer Receives Prominent Premiere

Composer Ben Shirley '19 followed a path to SFCM that led him first through a difficult time on the streets of Los Angeles. Shirley receives a special honor on October 1 when The Midnight Mission, a prominent Los Angeles organization serving the homeless, premieres his work Midnight to 12:01 at its Annual Golden Heart Awards Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. He says the title, adapted from Midnight Mission posters and t-shirts, signifies “the end of a day and the start of a new one… a metaphor for my life.” A member of SFCM’s first class to major in Technology and Applied Composition (TAC), Shirley wrote the piece as part of his Conservatory audition. He explains:

“I found that the time to transfer was on the horizon and I didn't know where to head. I remembered a few students from Los Angeles City College attended SFCM and so I went on the web site. The TAC program came up and it was like this was made specifically for me!”

Shirley will attend the Midnight Mission’s star-studded awards gala, offering his composition as “a ‘Thank you’ to the place I love and the place that saved my life.” As he anticipates returning to immerse himself in the study of traditional composition and cutting-edge music technology, Shirley says, “I’m blessed beyond anything. I feel like I’m in a dream every second I am in school at SFCM.”

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